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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With St. John's Head Coach John Harrington

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, February 21 at Noon ET, St. John's head coach and 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team member John Harrington enters the chatroom at "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com.



John Harrington


John Harrington is in his 13th season as head coach at Saint John's University. A member of the 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic hockey teams, he has guided the Johnnies to a 203-109-24 (.639) record entering the season.

The winningest hockey coach in school history, Harrington has led the Johnnies to five MIAC regular season titles and the NCAA tournament five times. His 12 years at SJU is the longest tenure of any hockey coach in school history. Harrington collected his 200th career win on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2005.

As a player, Harrington starred with Minnesota-Duluth from 1975 to 1979. He gained fame as a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that captured the gold medal at the Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York. He was an assistant coach at Denver from 1984 to 1990 and St. Cloud State from 1990 to 1993.

A member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, Harrington received the Lester Patrick Award in 1980 for outstanding service to hockey in the U.S. He is a charter member of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, a 1990 inductee into the Minnesota Olympic Hall of Fame and a 2001 inductee into the Minnesota-Duluth Athletic Hall of Fame.


** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: John won't be stopping by until Noon EST on Tuesday, February 21st, and his time will be limited, so feel free to submit your questions now and we'll save them for his arrival!
CSTV.com Moderator: Welcome to a special Olympic edition of "Tuesday @ The Rink". We are joined today by two members of the 1980 Olympic hockey team, both of whom are coaching in the college ranks today. Out first guest is the head coach at Saint John's, John Harrington.
Coach Harrington: Hi, everyone. It is great to be here. I'm looking forward to answering your questions.

Grayslake, IL: Coach: How do you balance you time between coaching SJU and watching your son play at the U? Will you be attending the Frozen Four this year?
Coach Harrington: I get to as many of his games as I can. He understands I'm am working in this business, but it has worked put pretty well, fortunately. Most of the Minnesota games are televised, so if we happen to be playing at the same time, I can go home and watch the game on tape. If Minnesota is in the Frozen Four, I'll definitely be there. With it being in Milwaukee, there is a good chance I'll be there anyway, but I'll definitely be there if Minnesota is playing.

Chris(Minneapolis): How come you never mention your breakaway agianst USSR? Good thing I got mom's hands!! Just kidding, dad. Love ya.
Coach Harrington: I love you, too, Chris.

Brian Burg: Why "Bah"?
Coach Harrington: My dad gave me that nickname when I was about a month old. My older brother, Joe, is only ten months older than me. When I was born, he was just learning to talk and he was trying to say "Baby" and it came out "Bah" or "Bah Bah", so my dad started calling me "Bah". It just stuck.

Elizabeth, Pittsburgh, PA: Mr. Harrington, Congratulations on your 200th win! Did you do anything to celebrate that milestone?
Coach Harrington: I didn't look at it as being that big. I'm a superstitious person, so I don't really plan around those things and just let it go. I think my wife made a cake and brought it to the lockerroom, so the team had cake, but that was about the extent of it.

Matt (CT): How do you feel about NHL players as opposed to amateurs competing in the Olympics? Do you think it was better when the amateurs competed, or is it better seeing the big names from the NHL as the league takes a layoff? Also, if NHL players won in 1980 for Team USA, would it have been as special?
Coach Harrington: I'm not in favor of the pros playing. I think it takes away the goals and dreams and aspirations of a lot of young players if you have to be an NHL All-Star, not just a pro player, to play in the Olympic Games. For our team, the time together, the six months we spent together to build our team, that is a major part of building a team to play in the Olympics. You just don't have that when players are flying in the day before to play in the Games. You can see the pros in the Canada Cup or World Cup. I'm partial to some combination of amateurs and maybe some your professionals being given the chance to play.

Rich-Chicago: Hi John- Having played D-111 hockey myself, how big of a drop off is there between D-1 and D-111 hockey especially given the talent today. Could the upper echelon D-111 players play D-1 hockey but don't because they never got the exposure in high school or juniors. What are your thoughts?
Coach Harrington: I think certainly the top end guys in our league could play D-I. I've coached D-3 for 13 years and I'm amazed at how good the quality of play in our league has gotten, but the quality of play across all of college hockey has gotten better. I know there are guys at our level that have been D-3 All-Americans. I'm not sure if they look at it after the fact and say "I wish I played Division I" because of their success at our level.

Ken (Ithaca): Are there any teams that you think can make the transition from D3 to D1? With the CHA's future in question, there is an opportunity for a D3 school to potentially step right in and make an impact.
Coach Harrington: I'm not sure. That is an individual decision and a huge financial jump. The expense of being a Division I program is what holds some teams back, not the talent on their team or the ability to get talent. It is an expensive propostion. I think there are teams that can play at that level and have the facilities, but the jump in expense is the obstacle. It is an institutional decision, not a hockey decision.

John (St. Cloud): You've recruited at the Division I level and Division III level. What advantages does Division III offer that would suprise some people?
Coach Harrington: The advantages are unique to the school you are recruiting to. Saint John's has an outstanding academic reputation as a liberal arts school. At the Division 3 level, athletes, if they choose to, can play multiple sports, which is something that might not be possible at some D-1 schools. I think, also, the perspective that it is not so much a job but an opportunity to play the game - our players understand that winning is not the end all here. They also get a great education and the chance to network and start their working career when their college hockey career is over.

Jim (Denver): Since your coaching experience have been varied--an Assistant at D1 schools Denver and St. Cloud and since you've been exposed to playing D1 at UMD and of course the 80 and 84 Olympic Teams who would you say has been most influential in your development has a head coach?
Coach Harrington: Most coaches are probably influenced by the person they had the most success under. Herb Brooks had the most influence. How I coach is a lot like how he coached. But I have been fortunate to have played for good coaches like Herb, Bob Johnson on the National Team, Lou Vairo on the 1984 Olympic Team, as well as coaching with good coaches. I've have a varied number of coaches to learn from and combine a lot of their ideas. It has been great for me. All the coaches I have been with have helped me become the coach I am now.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Coach Harrington.
Coach Harrington: I had a great time. Thanks for having me.
CSTV.com Moderator: Join us at the top of the hour (1:00 Eastern), when we are joined by Coach Harrington's 1980 Olympic teammate, Wisconsin women's head coach Mark Johnson.

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